FirstBank of Nigeria Limited has received the award for “Best Bank in Support of the Manufacturing Sector” at the Independent Finance Award.
Independent Newspapers on Friday night in Lagos recognised and celebrated some financial institutions and individuals for their contributions to the innovation and inspirational changes in the nation’s banking and finance sector.
The maiden edition of the Independent Finance Award, organised in collaboration with Africa Consolidated Analytical Limited, had as the theme, ‘Nigeria’s Economic Advancement: Will RT200 be an Economic Game-Changer?’
The event was borne out of the need to provide a platform of engagement for players in the banking and financial services sector, policymakers in government, and investors.
Mr. Oluwatosin Adewuyi, the Executive Director, Corporate Banking, at FirstBank, who received the award, noted that the bank has remained a great believer in the importance of export earnings by government, hence its embrace of the RT200 initiative, where it is a major player, among others.
Adewuyi, who also received the Independent Commercial Bank CEO of the Year Award, on behalf of Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, his CEO, recalled how officials of the bank “are always on the road advising potential exporters, because we believe in the initiative as way of growing the economy,” expressing appreciation to the award organisers on behalf of the board, management and staff of the bank.
The Independent Mortgage Award was received on behalf of Living Trust Mortgage Bank Plc by Olumide Adedeji, Executive Director/representative of the Managing Director, who described it as “a special award,” thanking the organisers for recognising the bank’s little contribution to joining the search for a solution to the nation’s housing deficit.
He dedicated the award to the company’s customers for their contributions to building the brand.
Receiving the Independent Micro Finance Bank of the Year Award on behalf of Accion Microfinance Bank Limited, Adefisayo Akinsanya, Head of Marketing Communications, said the recognition of the company’s humble contribution is an encouragement to remain committed to empowering and supporting the financial services sector.
Independent Micro Finance Bank CEO of the Year Award went to Mr. Taiwo Joda of Accion Microfinance Bank Limited, just as the Independent Mortgage Bank CEO of the Year Award was won by Mr. Adekunle Adewole, MD/CEO of Living Trust Mortgage Bank.
The Independent Fastest Growing Mortgage Bank of the Year Award was won by Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank Plc, while FHA Mortgage Bank Plc clinched the award for the Most Innovative Mortgage Bank of the Year.
Other award categories were the Independent Best Commercial Bank in Digital Technology, and Support for SMEs in the country, won by Guaranty Trust Bank Plc; Access Bank Plc clinched the awards for Best Commercial Bank of the Year (Retail Banking), and Commercial Bank of the Year in Sustainability; while the award for Best Bank in support of oil and gas, went to Zenith Bank Plc.
In a keynote presentation on the award theme, Assistant Director, Trade and Exchange, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Richard Maikai, who represented the director, Dr. Ozoemena Nnaji, used the occasion to further sensitise the public on the CBN’s RT200 policy, stressing that “Nigeria’s forex market is challenged,” and unable to meet the growing demand.
The RT200 FX programme, which is anchored on five pillars such as Value-Adding Exports Facility, Non-Oil Commodities Expansion Facility, Non-Oil FX Rebate Scheme, Dedicated Non-Oil Export Terminal, and Biannual Non-Oil Export Summit “is an initiative aimed at raising $200 billion in FX earnings over a period of three to five years.”
He, however, noted that with the commencement of the RT200 policy, there has been an improvement in forex inflow, which is visible in the huge increase in the number of non-oil export operators that filed for the FX rebate in the first two quarters of the year.
“The request for the rebate which initially only started with seven banks has almost all the banks that facilitate export transactions making submissions on behalf of their customers,” he stressed.
As part of the apex bank’s desire to further promote the policy, Maikai announced that the second edition of a summit on the policy will hold in Lagos on November 29, to once again sensitise the public on the need to diversify the economy away from oil, while continuing to showcase the vast opportunities in the non-oil export sector.
The CBN, he said, has over the years, been grappling with a rising demand for FX, warning that the ensuing pressure remains a strong domestic headwind, hence the need for policy initiatives. One of such, he continued, is the Investors & Exporters window established by the CBN in April 2017, to boost liquidity in the FX market.
In a goodwill message, the Registrar/Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Dr. ‘Seye Awojobi, described the eventas a wonderful initiative by Independent Newspaper sat time when it is uncommon in our clime, because “Nigerians celebrate people when they are dead. But the Independent Newspapers is changing the narrative today to celebrate, rewardand commend the achievements of people and players in the financial services sector.”
He assured that the CIBN is happy to identify with the awardees, all of who are corporate and individual members of the institute, as well as Independent Newspapers Limited.
Speaking on the keynote speech, Awojobi, who was represented by Akin Morakinyo, Deputy Registrar at the institute, noted the importance today of ensuring that the RT200 policy of the CBN achieves its objective for the good of the nation and the economy, which is why, he said, the CIBN also made a focus at its just concluded Annual Bankers’ Conference held in Abuja.
“There is no better time than today for Nigerians to unleash the prosperity of their country”, he said.
The award ceremony was also attended by Prof. Ahmed Kurshe, Registrar/CEO of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), who gave a goodwill message, among other stakeholders in the nation’s banking sector.
Among those that graced the event are Helen Ogboh, Group Head, Corporate Banking Group, Manufacturing FirstBank; Tosin Adewuyi, Executive Director, Corporate Banking Group; Richard Maikai, Assistant Director of Trade and Investment, Central Bank of Nigeria and Temitayo Osundosumu, Group Head, Corporate Banking Group, Energy (Up & Midstream) FirstBank.